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Harris Staffer Tyrone Gayle Dies After Cancer Battle

He was previously a Hillary for America staffer

Tyrone Gayle, right, talks with Hillary Clinton at her campaign HQ in New York. (Barb Kinney/Clinton campaign file photo)
Tyrone Gayle, right, talks with Hillary Clinton at her campaign HQ in New York. (Barb Kinney/Clinton campaign file photo)

Tyrone Gayle, Sen. Kamala Harris’ press secretary, died of colon cancer on Thursday night.

Ian Sams, communications director for Sen. Tim Kaine, shared the news.

“There will forever be a hole in my heart and thousands of hearts (#GayleNation) the size of TG,” Sams said.

Gayle was diagnosed during the 2016 campaign cycle when he worked as a national spokesperson for Hillary for America. He started on the campaign as regional press secretary and African-American media director.

He worked for Harris since she first arrived in the Senate in January 2017. The senator put out a statement that she is “heartbroken” and Gayle was “an invaluable and beloved member” of her team.

“Tyrone started with me on Day 1 in my Senate office and cared so deeply about the people we fight for every day. For Tyrone, nothing was too small to do or too big to take on,” she wrote. “He did this work tirelessly, always with a smile or a kind gesture. And he never lost faith in our ability to do good for the people in this country. Tyrone is irreplaceable.”

He is survived by his wife of six months, Beth Foster. 

Kaine officiated the wedding. The senator recalled in a statement on Friday: “I preached about the unusual repetition in a line in the Lord’s Prayer: ‘give us this day our daily bread.’ Not enough for all time, just enough for today. And Tyrone lived — and shared — a life of many beautiful todays.”

He added, “All who crossed Tyrone’s path were affected by his warmth, humor, and positive energy.”

The senator included the A.E. Housman poem “To an Athlete Dying Young” in his statement.

“God bless Beth and the entire Gayle family. As Ty would say: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,” he wrote.

Before Clinton’s campaign, Gayle was the western regional press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, associate director for communications at the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee and a special assistant to Tim Kaine when he was governor of Virginia.

Last month, a GoFundMe effort led by Jesse Lehrich — a fellow former Clinton spokesman and friend of Gayle’s — raised money for medical expenses. Lehrich also ran the Chicago Marathon earlier this month to raise money.

Gayle graduated from Clemson University, where he ran Division I track in 2010. He talked about his battle with cancer in his alma mater’s The Newsstand last year.

“While I breathe, I hope,” he said, quoting the state motto spoken by South Carolina Rep. James E. Clyburn at Gayle’s 2010 graduation, which he’s taken to heart.

“I beat cancer once and will beat it again,” he said then.